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Support for independent 9/11 commission?

By Dana Bash
CNN Washington

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Members of Congress stood united as they marked the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks. But will they also stand together to support an independent commission to investigate 9/11 intelligence lapses?


Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut says he's likely to offer an amendment to the Homeland Security bill to create such a commission, perhaps next week.

A GOP congressional source says that as many as four or five Republican senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee may now be willing to support an independent commission, even though the Bush administration is against the idea.

Apparently frustrated by the minimal progress the Joint Congressional Intelligence Committee is making, senators who were once reluctant to support an independent commission now believe it may be the only way to get some answers as to why intelligence agencies were caught flat-footed on September 11.


The joint committee's funding runs out in February, and lawmakers on the committee say they have been met with consistent resistance in getting information from the agencies they are investigating.

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, now supports the idea and even Senate Intelligence Chairman Bob Graham, D-Florida, who was reluctant to vote for a commission earlier this year, now says through a spokesman he would vote for it if it came up.

As for Lieberman, he knows the "Big Mo" when he sees it.


"Both Senator McCain and I feel this is an appropriate vehicle. What could be more appropriate than the Department of Homeland Security bill to make certain we know everything we can know about September 11?" Lieberman said.

Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, told reporters earlier this week he is still skeptical of any and all commissions because no one pays attention to them.




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